May 27th, 2024

First Nations say they must not be left out of UN plastic treaty talks

By The Canadian Press on April 24, 2024.

A person walks past a public art installation outside a United Nations conference on plastics on Tuesday, April 23, 2024 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA – First Nations have one message for delegates gathered in Ottawa this week to negotiate a global plastic waste agreement: don’t leave us out.

Aamjiwnaang First Nation councillor Janelle Nahmabin lives in an area nicknamed “Chemical Valley.”

The First Nation, near Sarnia, Ont., neighbours a chemical plant that researchers say is emitting high levels of cancer-causing benzene.

Nahmabin says its leadership wants to work collaboratively with governments to create a healthier future for all.

She says like everyone else, Indigenous Peoples have a right to a healthy environment, and negotiations should include the duty to prevent exposure to hazardous substances.

Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault said Tuesday the treaty, which would seek to end plastic waste by 2040, will not be ambitious enough if it doesn’t include some limits on plastic production.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 24, 2024.

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